Blog : education

NextHome announces newest brokerage in the Triad Area

NextHome announces newest brokerage in the Triad Area

Doug & Adriane Witcher, Tracy Turner

Pleasanton, CA — November 27, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Realty Partners. The brokerage represents the 19th office location opened in North Carolina for the NextHome franchise.

NextHome Realty Partners is owned by Tracy Turner and Doug Witcher. Adriane Witcher, Doug’s wife, works as a REALTOR®/broker for the office and David Turner, Tracy’s husband, is NextHome Realty Partner’s project manager. 

Based in High Point, NextHome Realty Partners’ agents are looking forward to serving clients across Greensboro, Kernersville, Jamestown, High Point, Winston-Salem, and the remainder of the Triad.

High Point, nestled between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, is known as the “Furniture Capital of the World” and is the home of High Point University and a brand new minor league baseball team, the High Point Rockers. The Triad boasts a veterans hospital, as well as six additional major universities, two more minor league baseball teams and the Greensboro Swarm, a basketball team owned by the Charlotte Hornets.

With 12 agents and growing, NextHome Realty Partners provides expertise in all types of residential real estate including first-time home buying, investment properties, and veteran relocations.

“We want to bring on agents that are like-minded as us and will go the extra mile to take care of their clients,” said Tracy. “We want agents who will be creative and think outside the box to get the job done.”

NextHome Realty Partners can trace its origins to 2009 when Tracy first obtained her real estate license. Prior to that, Tracy was a Director of Sales and Marketing for Sheraton Hotels where she developed an interest in real estate investing. In 2006, she and her husband started a real estate investment company and purchased over 45 foreclosures properties. They would fix up and rehab the properties to sell or rent. 

Tracy initially worked for a small, independent firm, and eventually a larger firm where she sharpened her skills over the next six years. In 2014, she became broker-in-charge of a nationwide real estate firm.

In 2016, Adriane Witcher obtained her real estate license and started working for Tracy.  Adriane, Doug, Tracy, and David had been friends for over 20 years. Tracy had no reservations about hiring Adriane as a new agent because of Adriane’s successful business background. 

Doug and Adriane started a trucking company, Worth Transportation Systems, in 1998. They grew it from one truck and a small warehouse to a multi-million dollar business delivering furniture throughout the United States. They sold the business in 2004 and bought Balance Day Spa in Greensboro, NC. They soon added two more locations in the Triad. They sold the spas in 2010 and became involved in a couple other businesses until they realized real estate was undoubtedly their calling. 

“Doug and I have purchased 11 homes that we have lived in, all in the Triad, during our almost 20 years of marriage,” said Adriane. “We have always enjoyed the home buying, selling, and remodeling process. With our interest in real estate, becoming a REALTOR® seemed like the perfect fit.”  

Doug soon followed with getting his real estate license and in Spring of 2017, the Turners and the Witchers once again got the entrepreneurial itch. In Fall of that year, they opened their own firm called Turner Witcher Realty. A brick and mortar office soon followed and they quickly grew to six agents.  

The company thrived in its first year, with Doug, Adriane, and Tracy closing over 60 transactions themselves along with dozens more from their agents. 

Their connection to NextHome began not by looking for a franchise to partner with, but because they were looking for a way to improve their logo and have consistency in marketing

“While I was researching logos, I remembered a REALTOR® that I had a deal with earlier this year who worked with NextHome Triad Realty,” Adriane said. “The logo and mascot caught my attention. We were not fans of franchises, but the branding was really good. We were interested, but hesitant. I presented it to Doug and Tracy and it wasn’t long before we were on the phone with NextHome’s vice president of sales Charis Moreno.”

The trio knew they wanted to give their agents and clients the best, most up-to-date technology and tools. They wanted to improve their logo to be sharp and consistent in all advertising and marketing. The search for a logo morphed into an upgrade for their entire business. 

“When I looked at franchises, I always associated them with an old and stuffy feeling,” Doug said. “Then I saw NextHome and it was new and fresh. They offered everything we were looking for while still allowing us to operate our own business. They didn’t impose all the rules and regulations of a typical real estate franchise.”

Adriane found the branding tools to be a significant time saver for a brokerage that was doing it all independently before. 

“Adriane is our in-house tech guru and she was usually the one who was searching the Internet for better and more efficient ways to get things done,” Tracy said. “With NextHome, everything is in one place, right at our fingertips.” 

“There is consistency and comprehensiveness in the branding and marketing. NextHome offers everything we wanted and needed, including things we didn’t even know we needed,” said Adriane. 

Today, NextHome Realty Partners offers that outside-the-box thinking and unparalleled marketing to all of their clients, and it shows. So far in 2019, the brokerage helped clients with more than 100 successful transactions and did $24 million in sales. Tracy, Doug, and Adriane are still selling as successfully as ever. 

Outside of helping clients find their next home, Doug and Adriane enjoy cheering on the Carolina Panthers and Adriane’s alma mater, the UNC Tarheels. They are the proud parents of two children: Hayden (20) and Sofiya (19) whom they adopted from Russia in 2002. 

Tracy has been married to David for 27 years and she is the mother of four, Lauren (24), Brittany (23), and twins Jack and Kristen (14). Lauren is married to the firm’s newest agent, Spencer Harrell, and they are expecting a baby girl in early January. In the summer months, the family enjoys going to Smith Mountain Lake and supporting their kids as they play soccer and golf. 

Please join us in welcoming Tracy, Doug, Adriane, and the rest of the team at NextHome Realty Partners to the NextHome family!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Father and son team open Blacksburg NextHome office

Father and son team open Blacksburg NextHome office

Ranny & Joel Humphreys

Pleasanton, CA — November 15, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome New River Valley. The brokerage represents the 10th office location opened in Virginia for the NextHome franchise.

Based in Blacksburg, NextHome New River Valley is owned by father and son team Ranny and Joel Humphreys. With 37 years of combined experience, Ranny and Joel provide expertise in all types of residential sales including relocations, first-time home buying, and investment properties. Ranny has deep roots in the community from providing superior commercial property sales services, and Joel brings extensive expertise in technology and business operations. As nearby Virginia Tech expands its student population, the NextHome New River Valley team is also happy to help investors looking to purchase a solid student rental property, including multi-family real estate.

The office’s six agents spread their time across Montgomery, Roanoke, Botetourt, Giles, Wythe, Bland, and Floyd counties serving buyers and sellers in towns such as Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Riner, Wytheville, and towns south to the Tennessee state line.

Located just 30 miles from Roanoke, the small town of Blacksburg is known as the home of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Due to the flow of educated talent to the area, companies in the high-tech industry find Blacksburg perfect to lay roots. Several aerospace manufacturers and defense department suppliers have operations based in Blacksburg.  

In the 1960s, Blacksburg’s appeal attracted Ranny to Virginia Tech. After graduating in 1970, the Virginia-native married his high school sweetheart Joan and began a successful career as a pharmaceutical representative. For many years, Ranny developed trusting relationships with hundreds of physicians across Virginia. 

However, in 2000, Ranny felt the pull toward real estate. After obtaining his Virginia license, he began working full-time with a small boutique firm. When that firm was bought out, Ranny moved on and joined RE/MAX Allegiance – one of the largest real estate companies in the state. 

After working in the medical device industry, Joel also felt a pull to real estate. In 2005, he obtained his real estate license and began working for his dad at Allegiance. Then, in 2008, Ranny opened his own independent franchise – RE/MAX 1st Realty. As an agent, Joel contributed to 1st Realty’s success. 

Even in the midst of a national recession, the Humphreys built a thriving business. Among three brick and mortar offices, Ranny retained 33 high-performing agents who were seasoned masters in the industry. At one point, the franchised office held 20% of Blacksburg’s market share.  

“It was really due to a lot of great relationships that my dad built,” Joel said. “We cared about these agents and that’s why these great people stuck around.”

In 2018, the Humphreys knew their contract with RE/MAX was about to expire, which sparked their research into other franchise options. 

“We wanted to grow and keep pushing ourselves to be better,” Joel said. 

One day, Joel was asking about franchise options in REALTOR® Facebook groups and several people recommended NextHome. 

“NextHome is different from any other company out there,” Joel said. “The entire culture of NextHome is built on this idea that a company can care about personal interactions. Their motto of ‘Humans over Houses’ is infused throughout everything they do. Along with the technology, NextHome is lightyears ahead of others in the industry.”

“NextHome is hungry enough to stay ahead,” Ranny said. “They won’t rest on their laurels.” 

As their team grows, the Humphreys are now sharing that people-first culture with both agents and clients. 

“We care about our agents and want them to succeed,” Joel said. “We’re not about the numbers. To us, you are a person, not just another agent.”

Ranny added that clients can expect NextHome New River Valley to leverage every tool in their box to get their property sold – including client-centric care and compassion. 

“We have unsurpassed technology to get the client’s property sold,” Ranny said. “And more than that, we believe that business will take care of itself if we take care of the people. The client is the most important part of any business transaction. If they are happy, everyone succeeds.”

When they aren’t selling real estate, the Humphreys enjoy spending time with their families and volunteering in their communities. 

For 25 years, Ranny led various Bible studies with Community Bible study and Bible Study Fellowship as well as his church. Four years ago, he began teaching Sunday School. Ranny will soon celebrate 50 years of marriage to his high school sweetheart, Joan. Together they are the proud parents of Joel and their daughter, Dale.

Joel has been married to Joanna Humphreys for 14 years. Together they are the proud parents of five children: Josiah (11), Elijah (10), Micah (6), Ellyanah (4), and Judah (1). In his spare time, Joel is also active in serving his church and he coaches his children’s soccer and baseball teams. When the family is together, they enjoy camping, going to the movies, cookouts, and attending the kids sporting events.   

Please join us in congratulating Ranny and Joel on the opening of NextHome New River Valley in Blacksburg, Virginia!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

How to Sell a Home in the Off-Season

How to Sell a Home in the Off-Season

In many parts of the country, conventional wisdom often dictates that the best time to sell a home is in the spring or summer. While the most productive selling season can vary by region and by market, many sellers strive to get their home listed during these months for the best shot at selling quickly – and for the right price. But what happens if clients need to sell their home during an off-season in your market? Here are some suggestions:

Make the price attractive.

With fewer potential buyers, setting a realistic price right out of the gate is a smart strategy to help attract interest.

Manage seller expectations around interest and the number of showings they might get.

There may not be as many showing appointments, listing viewings, or inquiries about the home as there might be in busier seasons.

Include videos in online listings.

Taking video footage will add an extra step to the busy pre-listing preparation, but could pay dividends in attracting interest.

Host a realtor open house to spur interest.

During the off season, you may get better attendance and you won’t be competing with a lot of other listings for attention.

Creatively advertise.

Look for seasonal avenues, such as holiday circulars and programs for sporting and performance events.

Play up the best features of the property in listing descriptions, photographs, and videos to drum up interest.

Remember, you may need to appeal to buyers who aren’t actively looking to purchase at this time.

Share the home on social media, and ask your friends and family to share, too.

Talk about the property at social and business events.

Keep former clients in mind. Let them know about the property in case they are interested or know someone who might be.

Add an American Home Shield® Real Estate Home Warranty to differentiate the property and reassure potential buyers.

The Seller Coverage Option gives your sellers and buyers valuable coverage at Real Estate Edition prices, including American Home Shield ShieldEssentialSM protection for major components of crucial home systems that can be the most expensive to repair or replace. In addition to important coverage for your clients, American Home Shield gives you a dynamic marketing tool that can attract interest and help smooth the negotiation and closing process.

The fact is that people need to sell homes throughout the year, and real estate transactions are completed year-round. Tell sellers not to be discouraged just because they may have missed the “best” selling window. With your guidance and expertise, a successful sale can happen in any season.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

Sylvia & Nicola: A Service Dog Team

Sylvia & Nicola: A Service Dog Team

Throughout her life, Sylvia, who has muscular dystrophy, has relied on her parents to assist her with day-to-day tasks. Sylvia has never let her disability put a limit on her success. She graduated near the top of her high school class with a 4.25 GPA. She was co-captain of the mock trial team at school, served on the youth advisory board of the local children’s hospital, interned in the Alameda County district attorney’s office and is a budding filmmaker.

In April of 2019, Sylvia’s world was turned upside down when she was admitted to Stanford University. An exciting time for most high school seniors was a worrisome time for Sylvia. The idea of leaving home seemed impossible due to her reliance on others for help.

“The thought of going away to college is scary, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up academically, that I would struggle to make friends, that I’d be lonely. But I also worried that my wheelchair and disability would interfere with my ability to meet new people,” shares Sylvia.

Everything changed in July when Sylvia was invited to Team Training and was matched with expertly trained Service Dog Nicola.

“Nicola has given me a sense of security and independence that I’ve never felt before. I no longer need to be afraid of being left alone because I know that if I drop something, she’ll be there. I know that I no longer need to be worried when I’m walking on campus and need help to carry my books because she’ll be there. I don’t need to be worried about days when I’m feeling particularly lonely because she’ll be there,” Sylvia says with a warm smile.

Canine Companions Service Dog Nicola is expertly trained in over 40 commands to assist Sylvia. Nicola can open doors, pick up dropped items, pull a manual wheelchair and more. Much more – she will be with Sylvia during this transformative time in her life.

“Nicola and I are college gals, she will always be there for me, and I’ll be there for her,” Sylvia shares excitedly.

To learn more about Canine Companions for Independence, click here.

Trends in Charitable Giving

Trends in Charitable Giving

As we approach the holidays, we often see people coming together to benefit others and a renewed focus on giving back.  Some people choose to donate their time, others donate supplies or money.  As a business owner, you should be aware of the personal and financial byproducts of charitable giving.

According to Giving USA 2018, Americans gave an estimated $410.02 billion to charity in 2017. That’s the first time that the amount has totaled more than $400 billion in the history of the report.1

Americans give to charity for two main reasons: to support a cause or organization they care about or to leave a legacy through their support.

When giving to charitable organizations, some people elect to support through cash donations. Others, however, understand that supporting an organization may generate tax benefits. They may opt to follow techniques that can maximize both the gift and the potential tax benefit. Here’s a quick review of a few charitable choices:

Remember, the information in this article is not a replacement for real-life advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Make sure to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional before modifying your charitable giving strategy. 

Direct gifts are just that: contributions made directly to charitable organizations. Direct gifts may be deductible from income taxes depending on your individual situation.

Charitable gift annuities are not related to annuities offered by insurance companies. Under this arrangement, the donor gives money, securities, or real estate, and in return, the charitable organization agrees to pay the donor a fixed income. Upon the death of the donor, the assets pass to the charitable organization. Charitable gift annuities enable donors to receive consistent income and potentially manage taxes.

Pooled-income funds pool contributions from various donors into a fund, which is invested by the charitable organization. Income from the fund is distributed to the donors according to their share of the fund. Pooled-income funds enable donors to receive income, potentially manage taxes, and make a future gift to charity.

Gifts in trust enable donors to contribute to a charity and leave assets to beneficiaries. Generally, these irrevocable trusts take one of two forms. With a charitable remainder trust, the donor can receive lifetime income from the assets in the trust, which then pass to the charity when the donor dies; in the case of a charitable lead trust, the charity receives the income from the assets in the trust, which then pass to the donor’s beneficiaries when the donor dies.

Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

Donor-advised funds are funds administered by a charity to which a donor can make irrevocable contributions. This gift may have tax considerations, which is another benefit. The donor also can recommend that the fund make distributions to qualified charitable organizations.

Some people are comfortable with their current gifting strategies. Others, however, may want a more advanced strategy that can maximize their gift and generate potential tax benefits. A financial professional can help you assess which approach may work best for you.

For more financial advice from our partners at Gateway Financial, visit their website for more information.

Shane Westhoelter may be reached at 858-428-3929 or shane@gfainvestments.com

www.gfainvestments.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.
The information in this email is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and have received this email in error, please reply to the sender to inform them of this fact.
We cannot accept trade orders through email. Important letters, email, or fax messages should be confirmed by calling 1-858-GATEWAY  . This email service may not be monitored every day, or after normal business hours.
Citations.
1 – givingusa.org/giving-usa-2018-americans-gave-410-02-billion-to-charity-in-2017-crossing-the-400-billion-mark-for-the-first-time/ [6/13/18]
NextHome expands in the Houston area

NextHome expands in the Houston area

Chantell Hypolite & Kenneth Gabriel

Pleasanton, CA — November 7th, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Realty Executives. The brokerage represents the 26th office location opened in Texas for the NextHome franchise and the eighth office location in the greater Houston area. 

NextHome Realty Executives is led by former City Planner Chantell Hypolite and her partner Kenneth Gabriel. Together with her team of top-notch agents, Chantell serves residential buyers and sellers across Houston. Her areas of expertise also extend to the suburbs, serving clients in Richmond, Sugar Land, Katy, and Spring. 

Chantell began her career as a City Planner in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after obtaining her Master’s Degree in Urban Development and Environmental Policy with a Specialization in Housing & Community Development. Chantell has also been a City Planner in League City, Texas. For four years, Chantell specialized in housing and community development. Her days were filled with writing ordinances, considering zoning regulations, and mulling over the best way to use League City land resources. 

“I just naturally fell into the real estate side of things,” Chantell said.

Her evolution to real estate began with a job performing site acquisitions for cell phone towers.

“The site acquisition agent I was working with said he was really impressed with my knowledge and how easy I was to work with,” Chantell recalled. “He recruited me and soon I was finding properties to build cell towers on all across Houston, as well as into the valley, all the way to Mexico border towns.”

Chantell began negotiating land leases for the cell towers, resulting in the company paying for her to get her real estate license. In a matter of weeks, the sharp city planner had her license and a new career path. 

In 2018, after two years of negotiating land leases, Chantell dove into real estate sales full-time.  She was recruited through mutual friends to the RE/MAX Allstars brokerage based out of Cypress. Chantell worked with the brokerage for two and a half years where her resourcefulness and drive helped her build a successful career in real estate. Chantell then began working for a small boutique brokerage, Sky Real Estate Professionals, where she remained for another two years. 

Eventually, Chantell’s drive for constant improvement and innovation sparked her interest in opening her own brokerage.

One evening, she was at a continuing education class and began picking the brain of a well-established broker in the area. 

“This woman had owned her own brokerage for 10-15 years and I really respected her,” Chantell recalled. “She said, ‘You know, I think you might want to look at NextHome. If I had to do it again, I would open a NextHome franchise.’ I reached out to NextHome and the rest is history.”

Chantell was impressed with the members and leadership team she met at NextHome and how friendly everyone was. 

“My first thought was, ‘Are these people real?’ It was just a different environment,” Chantell said. “People were so nice. Kindness and treating people with respect is a differentiating factor in business and NextHome does it so well.”

Today, Chantell is blending her real estate expertise with NextHome’s suite of top-level tools to bring quality service to Houston homebuyers. 

“They can expect to have their needs put before our commissions,” Chantell said about what NextHome Realty Executives clients can expect. “We give world-class service. We are going to answer the phone, be available, and communicate often. If you have a property under contract, we will send daily updates as needed. You are never going to wonder where you are or what is going on in the process.”

Chantell is very active in her community, especially in serving Houston’s homeless and needy. NextHome Realty Executives is sponsoring a garden bed at the Blodgett Community Garden. Sponsors grow, tend, and cultivate the food grown there and then the fresh fruits and vegetables are available to residents across Houston’s Third Ward. 

In addition, Chantell volunteers with The Bag Ladies Organization. The group gathers feminine hygiene supplies and distributes kits to local homeless women. Chantell continues to put her city planning skills to great use with the area’s homeless coalition. 

“We identified through GIS mapping where resources were available for the homeless,” Chantell said. “Then we look for duplications or areas where resources are lacking and make suggestions.”

She is also an active member of the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church where she serves on the Courtesy Corp leadership team. 

Chantell is the proud mother of Carter (7) and the family recently welcomed Lilly (16) into their home. She is also the proud dog mom of a Yorkie Jase and a Lab mix rescue Cooper. 

When Chantell isn’t helping clients and her community, she enjoys riding bikes, DIY projects, and visiting the zoo with her family.  

Please join us in congratulating Chantell and her team on the opening of NextHome Realty Executives in Houston, Texas!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Great Technology Emphasizes Great Agents – Not Replaces

Great Technology Emphasizes Great Agents – Not Replaces

It’s a topic covered exhaustively at every real estate conference, every coaching call, every new agent orientation: Technology is your friend, but it isn’t your replacement. New tools, apps, and systems can help you win more deals by making you more productive and engaged. But they can’t bridge the gap between a brand-new lead and the closing table.

What tech can do — and can’t do

We know that’s a strange thing to hear from a real estate technology company, but at SmartZip, we’re acutely aware of the advantages and constraints of technology.

Our predictive analytics can help you identify sellers from your farm and from your sphere. Our automated marketing campaigns can help you build your brand and identify selling intent from predicted prospects. Our mobile CheckIn app can help you find the right time to call, email or doorknock these top seller prospects. And, our Reach150 referral and testimonial management platform can help spread your great reputation around for more business.

Each component together or separately helps an agent and team free up their time to focus on developing a relationship with a prospect or feeding the relationship with a client. Technology can help warmup and organize your introduction but only you can start that communication. Only you can learn the personal and financial factors that may be motivating a seller, and only you can build a relationship of trust and shared goal-setting. And only you can win their business and ensure they get to the closing table safely and with all their needs met.

Keeping the agent at the center of the transaction

Can outreach and lead conversion be a hassle? Sure.

But if an app or system replaces the relationship-building of the industry, how long before it replaces agents altogether? That’s a reality that none of us want, and all of us have to fight against.

Instead, the focus should be on systems that organize and consolidate, tools that boost production and efficiency. Let the machines be machines and the agents be the human advocates for buying and selling real estate.

How can you make this happen? Here are our top four ways to ensure you pay for technology that solves real problems and avoid the tools or systems that over-promise and under-deliver.

1. Don’t pay for leads you won’t follow up with

Bulk leads can be enticing. Who doesn’t want to have a pipeline of 250 potential buyers to work with? But for the average agent, bulk leads present two main issues:

  • Any company with that many leads can’t possibly be vetting them, so the quality tends to be pretty low.
  • There’s just no way to follow up meaningfully with that many leads. And when you know the leads are low-quality, you won’t have much motivation to follow up anyway.

2. Don’t pay for a farm if you can’t go “all-in”

Farming isn’t something you can check off a list. It’s an all-encompassing strategy that should inform your marketing, outreach, events and community engagement.

And if you’re working with a company that promises to handle your farm’s marketing or seller lead generation but never mentions that you’ll also need to engage deeply in the area, beware! The leads are likely to be from FSBOs or Expireds that you could drum up yourself, and the marketing is likely just a mass-produced flyer sent to a local ZIP code.

At SmartZip, our SmartTargeting platform automates as much as possible — from predicting sellers to sending smarter, targeted marketing campaigns to those most likely to sell — but we also have outreach tools that help you close the gap with your top listing prospects.

We know that farming takes a combination of automation and real-life follow-up and we make it as easy as possible to hit those top targets at the right time.

3. Don’t buy lists that hundreds of agents have access to

Psssst, lean in close so we can tell you a secret: the vendors who offer “seller lead lists” are usually just condensing FSBO, Expired and Probate data into one place.

And when you contact sellers who have shown a specific “trigger” in county records — like taking their home on and off the market — you’ll usually find that they are bombarded with calls from eager agents who have the same data as you do. If a new tool or system makes you come off more like an ambulance chaser than a trusted professional, you may want to reconsider it.

4. Don’t pay for generalizations

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Building technology is a very specific process. To create a new tool or platform the parameters of the service have to be clearly defined upfront — and sold on the other side.

We’ve never been afraid to say that SmartTargeting was built primarily to help real estate agents win sellers identified by predictive algorithms. It’s our main focus, and the underlying features and offerings all support that focus.

If you’re speaking with a sales agent who speaks in generalized promises, and who can’t answer your questions with screenshots or a live demo, then be cautious about proceeding. The best tech companies know what their product is, but they also know what it isn’t. If the product is impressive enough to drive in real results, their sales team won’t be afraid to share its limits.

For more helpful tips from our partners at SmartZip, check out their blog!

Meet your October 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Meet your October 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Please join us in celebrating our NextHomie of the Month for October 2019, Beth Smoot, Broker/Owner of NextHome Triangle Properties in Raleigh, North Carolina! Beth is a courageous leader, a hands-on problem solver, and has a passion for giving back and serving her community. These traits made her the perfect candidate for the NextHomie of the Month title. Congratulations, Beth!  

Beth has been in real estate for over 15 years and opened her NextHome office in January of 2016. From the moment she found NextHome and everything the organization had to offer, she knew it was where she belonged. She now manages 10 agents in her office and together they’ve done over 85 transactions so far this year. Prior to real estate, Beth spent 10 years practicing law, then she transitioned into managing a very successful nonprofit organization. With real estate being her third career, she brings a wide variety of experience and skills to the table.

Outside of real estate, Beth continues to serve her community any chance she gets. Ten years ago, Beth co-founded The Green Chair Project with just $100. The goal was to gather furniture that was no longer being used and make it available to low-income families throughout the community. What started off as a few items being distributed from a closet in her church has blossomed into a 32,000 sq. ft. storefront that employs over 20 people. 

“Asking for help is hard. The difference between The Green Chair Project and other food banks is dignity,” said Beth. They boost confidence by creating a space that families in need are proud to walk into. “This project has taught me so many lessons, the greatest being that you don’t need to know what the end looks like in order to start.” 

Beth set a perfect example of how relentless determination can generate exemplary results and we are so proud to be able to recognize her efforts. 

Beth and her husband David, a child psychologist, have been married for 31 years and have two adult children together. Hannah, 24, who is a reporter, and Jake, 26, who works in a lab at Duke University. In her downtime, Beth enjoys painting and reading. She has also participated in a local book club for 23 years and hosts their Church Community Group every two weeks at her home.

When Beth was asked what characteristics make up a NextHomies, she proudly answered, “A NextHomie is someone who is committed to excellence and service to families in their community.” Her best piece of advice to finding happiness and success was to never forget it’s about, “Humans over Houses.” 

We are honored to recognize Beth as the NextHomie of the Month for October 2019. Congratulations once again, Beth! 

Why Consumer Education Videos Work in Real Estate (And How to Be Successful With Them)

Why Consumer Education Videos Work in Real Estate (And How to Be Successful With Them)

Creating great consumer education video content can help your business thrive. We know this because we’ve seen our top video influencers in real estate thrive in this video niche by creating informative, valuable and engaging content that ultimately leads to people wanting to work with them.

And while your go-to consumer education video might be a market update, there’s an endless amount of topics you can touch upon that can be of value to potential and current clients.

In fact, they want this content and are actively looking for it, especially on YouTube. According to WordStream, YouTube has more than a billion users, which accounts for about a third of all internet users. And “The Values of YouTube” 2017 study reported that 86% of viewers often go to YouTube to learn something new.

Karin Carr, one of our 2018 Top Real Estate Video Influencer Up and Comers, has truly embraced this consumer education video genre as her niche. And despite only starting her YouTube channel two years ago, she has over 4,400 subscribers and videos with thousands of views. The Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners agent also got 75% of her business from her YouTube channel alone—and no cold calling.

She even created another YouTube channel, “YouTube for Agents,” to teach other real estate agents her tips and tricks, as well as recently wrote a book on it, “YouTube for Real Estate Agents.”

See the video below for a look at what Karin focuses her educational content on and why she does so. And keep reading the post below for more on her story, why you should make consumer education a top priority when creating video content, and how to be successful with it.

Table of Contents

Consumer Education defined 
-Recommended real estate topics
Achieve success with consumer education videos
-Getting creative with content 
-Prioritizing keyword research
-Staying consistent with video 
-Being yourself on camera
-Providing value in videos 
-Karin’s bonus tips 
Why consumer education videos work 

What is consumer education?

So, the consumer education definition is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to video—you are providing educational content from your industry to consumers. But there are many ways you can approach this.

“When people go to YouTube, it’s a search engine. People are looking for videos like, ‘How do I fix my washing machine?’” Karin explains. “On YouTube, people go there to learn something or to be entertained. And if you can combine the two, those videos perform really well.”

And she’s not wrong. The top five reasons reported for why people turn to YouTube are:

1. For help with fixing something in a home, car or other
2. Entertainment
3. For learning something new
4. For satisfying curiosity about a topic
5. For assistance with solving a problem

For real estate, she recommends topics like: 

• How much does it cost to sell my house?
• How much do I need for a down payment?
• How do I stage a home on a budget?

“They’re Googling those questions, and if you make a really good YouTube video it can show up in the very first page of Google search results,” Karin says.

You can also get the full guide of real estate consumer education ideas at the end of this post.

How to be successful with consumer ed videos

Now, you might be wondering how to get started and prosper with educating consumers via video. And there are steps you can take to maximize your potential, and thrive with it. Here are Karin’s tips and recommendations for anyone looking to get started:

Get creative with your content ideas

When curating your consumer education content ideas, think outside of the box and get creative with your videos. Use your location, industry experiences and challenges as inspiration and opportunities to teach and generate prospects.

The first thing Karin did when she started making videos was pick a specialty to tailor her videos to—working with the military, as her market is located in Savannah, Georgia, a military community. A lot of the videos she made were about VA loans and using Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to cover mortgage payments.

“I was trying to come up with topics that I thought those specific people would be interested in, and that way I would attract my ideal client. Once you know who you’re trying to reach and what they want to know, it’s pretty easy to come up with content,” she continues. “If you try to be a general all-purpose agent in the market, there’s too much competition. You have to prove your value, and you do that by being a specialist.”

It’s also important to keep a bank of your ideas recorded somewhere—whether that be a notebook, computer, phone, etc. that you can access any time you get a new video idea. Karin keeps all of her ideas on her phone’s notes application.

Make it a priority to research keywords

Keyword research is SO IMPORTANT if you want your videos to be viewed. They determine where your video will rank in search results. And the video views generated through this are what lead to conversion.

Data from Advanced Web Ranking indicates that the higher you rank in search results, the higher the possibility that consumers will click and visit your website. The highest ranking Google desktop search results garnered a 31% click-through rate and 23% on mobile! As a result, the lower you rank, the lower your chances are of getting those clicks.

After deciding on an idea for her videos, Karin always does keyword research. She uses Keywords Everywhere—a free Chrome and Firefox plugin— and looks for what people are typing into the search bar that has a lot of searches, but low competition.

“If there’s low competition for a keyword I can rank for it at the top of the search results pretty easily,” she says.

Karin uses her selected keywords in the titles of her videos to get more organic traffic to them, and, in turn, her website to generate more leads. “If you make a great video but give it a terrible title, no one will ever find it in the search results,” she says. So, it’s best to avoid general titles like “Karin’s Vlog #2,” and instead use more specific titles that include your keyword, such as “Home Staging Tips to Get Your House Sold.”

She said even if there’s only 200-300 searches a month—but there’s little competition—for a keyword that shows intent that it’s still beneficial.

“They’re not Googling, ‘How much is a house in Savannah?’ if they’re not looking to buy a house,” she says. “So, 200 searches with high intent is fantastic! It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of searches a month.”

Consistency is key with video uploads

One of the lessons Karin talks about time and time again is the importance of consistency with your video uploads. She highly recommends:

• Figuring out what your upload schedule will be like and sticking with it
• Putting your upload schedule on a calendar
• Not skipping any of your scheduled upload times
• Recording multiple videos on a specific day of the week to have content to schedule out
• Say in your YouTube channel art or social media platform how often you’ll be posting videos

“You will be rewarded by the YouTube algorithm for your consistency,” she says. “It it tough? Yes, it is. But I’d rather be consistent than perfect.”

And her reason for this is, “If people show up to your channel on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. expecting there to be a new video and there isn’t one, eventually you’re going to train them and the YouTube algorithm that you are not consistent and that you don’t show up when you say you’re going to. Is that really something you want to be known for?”

Probably not, so be as consistent as possible!

Be yourself on camera

Do not be afraid to showcase you and your personality on camera. Video is all about showcasing who you are and what you have to offer—not what you look or sound like. So, own your video and who you are, and let your authenticity and humanity shine through.

“You look how you look, and you sound how you sound—nobody cares. You just keep making videos anyway because you will attract the people that like your personality, however you appear on camera,” Karin says. “They will like that about you. They will feel drawn to you. And when the time comes they will ask for your help. People are looking to you for your guidance and your expertise, not because you have a 26-inch waist.”

Also, don’t script your videos. It doesn’t work, and you won’t come across as genuine. When Karin started creating videos, she used scripts and could never get it to sound natural. Now she creates a bullet list of everything she wants to talk about, and builds from there.

Karin showcases her personality in every video she produces. She’s not afraid to be goofy and have fun in her videos, or be animated with her facial expressions or use her hands when she talks. She even dresses up in characters sometimes to make more data-heavy videos, like market updates, engaging and exciting yet still educational.

“I try to make it entertaining as well as informational. We feel like we have to be very professional in order to come across as competent. But that doesn’t mean we have to be boring,” she explains. “You can still be yourself on camera and show your personality and still deliver the information they want to know.”

Provide consumer value in your videos

After Karin decides on an idea for the video she’s going to record, she sits down and records a hook that includes her keyword at the very beginning to draw them in to the video from the start.

“Too many people start with introducing themselves and basically talking about how great they are for the next 45 seconds and nobody cares,” she says. “So I do my hook and then I briefly introduce myself because you have to say that you’re a real estate licensee so you don’t get in trouble with your local real estate commission, and you want them to know where you are physically located. Get through that quickly and then move on.”

Then she gets to the topic at hand quickly, and makes sure she answers the question viewers tuned in to have answered.

“You have to not talk all about yourself. You have to think of what the consumer wants to watch in a video, and it’s not a commercial,” she explains. “They typed something into the search bar because they were trying to find an answer to that question. People are looking for this information, so give them what they’re looking for and you will be rewarded with more business than you can possibly imagine.”

By not making videos that sound like sales pitches, you come across as more relatable and helpful.

“If they don’t feel like they’re being sold, I think it really lets them let their guard down and then they trust you,” Karin says.

She ends with a call to action that, again, is not straight up selling anything, but offering something of value, like a VA Buyers Guide. And that guide is on her website, which they submit contact information for and then she has a lead. She says 90% of the time, she received legitimate information, and her prospects are excited to hear from her because they think she’s famous after seeing her on YouTube.

Karin’s Bonus Tips:

Video length: Karin keeps videos around five minutes for a higher possibility of showing up in search results. This is short enough for the consumer to keep watching the whole video if they’re interested, and long enough to appeal to YouTube’s algorithm. Shorter videos are OK for other social media platforms, and may actually perform better on those outlets. HubSpot recommends the following video lengths for social media platforms:

• Instagram: 30 seconds
• Twitter: 45 seconds
• Facebook: 1 minute
• YouTube: 2 minutes

Equipment: You don’t have to use expensive equipment to make a quality video. Karin uses her phone or tablet most of the time to record content. She also uses an inexpensive microphone that just plugs into the audio jack. She does use a ring light for better lighting, and has a camera, but for the most part she sticks to the basics. And for her editing, she initially used the built-in video editing software from her computer and now hires a virtual assistant to do it. “All that time you get back is worth the expense,” she says.

Why consumer education videos work

Cisco estimates that by 2022, internet video traffic will account for 82% of all web traffic. And people are spending over a billion hours a day watching videos on YouTube. That is a huge stream of potential customers you can reach with consumer education videos.

And, in the words of Karin, “I get a boatload of leads. And they’re not just leads—they’re leads that turn into clients, and closings and commission checks.”

She was new in her town in June 2017, and within a year had so much business she needed to hire a showing assistant. Then that showing assistant became a buyer’s agent. And then she had to hire another buyer’s agent, two virtual assistants, and now she’s looking for a listing specialist. All of this happened within two years because she started making consumer education videos.

Karin explains that when people go onto Zillow and see a house for sale and request additional information, they don’t care who calls them because they’re just interested in the house. But if they watch her video on “How much does it cost to sell my house in Savannah?” and they call, it’s because they want to work with her.

“Whenever I get a seller lead or a buyer lead for that matter, 99% of the time they don’t even interview anybody else,” she says. “It’s amazing that by the time they’ve reached out to you, they’ve already decided that you are the person that they want to work with.”

When you give your prospects your wealth of knowledge via video without expecting anything in return, Karin says that when they do call you “it’s a done deal.”

“I’ve had people sign buyer/brokerage agreements over the internet and they’ve never even met me in person before because they feel like the know me already having seen so many of my videos,” Karin says. “It’s the best form of lead gen that I’ve ever done and I’ve been in business for 14 years.”

Get Started Today!

Now that you have all the knowledge to thrive with consumer education videos, it’s time for you to start making your own—whether that’s on YouTube, social media, or a video email via BombBomb.

If you’re feeling a little reluctant to start and are doubting if it’s for you, you are not alone. Karin says her first videos were bad. But she kept doing them, and look at where she is today.

“The first 20 videos you make are going to be awful. Make them anyway,” she says. “The more you do it, the better you get. Start now. The longer you wait, the longer it will be before you start to master it.”

And it you’re in need of inspiration, check out our 2019 Video Influencers Guide when it’s released later this year. There’s a whole section on our top real estate video influencers in consumer education that you can learn from.

For more helpful information from our partners at BombBomb, check out their blog! 

NextHome The Boulevard opens in Michigan

NextHome The Boulevard opens in Michigan

Michael T. Moore and Melissa Acton

Pleasanton, CA — October 22, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the newest addition to the franchise, NextHome The Boulevard. Based in Rochester, the new brokerage represents the 15th NextHome franchised office opened in the state of Michigan.

The Boulevard is led by experienced local agents Michael T. Moore and Melissa Acton. Mike will be the broker of record and Melissa will be the associate broker. 

Located in Rochester, NextHome The Boulevard’s team will serve residential buyers and sellers across Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Auburn Hills, Shelby, Utica, Royal Oak, Troy, Ferndale, and the remainder of Oakland and Macomb counties. 

Mike, Melissa, and the team are happy to help with all types of residential transactions.

“I’ve had an obsession with real estate since I was a little girl,” Melissa said. “My dad was a builder and whenever he would bring home blueprints, I would get so excited.”

Melissa remembers her family laughing at her wide-eyed excitement whenever she saw new real estate listings. 

Melissa spent the early years of her career in corporate America. However, the birth of her twins in 2011 gave her the push she needed to change her career’s course. 

As infants, Melissa’s twins endured many interventions. The time commitment required for these therapies meant Melissa needed more flexibility from her work. 

“I had to reinvent myself,” Melissa said. “I suddenly had an opportunity to go after a career that interested me and would provide the flexibility I needed because of the situation with my kids.”

Melissa obtained her real estate license and began working as a buyer agent with Keller Williams. Melissa became the friendly face clients would interact with. 

In the fall of 2016, Melissa’s twins started kindergarten and she discovered that one of her sons had a learning disability. 

“I took a year off to focus on making sure my kids were my first priority,” Melissa said. 

When she returned to real estate in 2017, she met Mike. 

Before his career in real estate, Mike spent 11 years as a regional safety director at FedEx. During those years, much of Mike’s time was spent traveling and he missed his family. When the company restructured and taking a buyout became an option, Mike was happy for the opportunity. 

“Suddenly, I got to choose what I wanted to do for a living and I had always wanted to pursue real estate,” Mike said. 

As he reestablished a great work-life balance, Mike got his real estate license and began working for a small, boutique firm. After two years with that company, Mike got an offer from a bigger brokerage in town. 

“It just seemed like a natural next step,” Mike said.

Mike spent the next two years with the large brokerage, where he found great success. Mike became one of the top five producing agents within the first year out of a firm of 400. Mike remained one of the company’s top five producing agents his entire time there and was the second top producing agent two years running.  

His success and sales volume set him apart in area real estate, so when Melissa was looking to jump back into the industry, she cold called Mike to see if she could join his team. 

“Having someone who could take clients for me and be a right-hand person was just what I needed at that time,” Mike said. “My wife and I were expecting another child at the time and Melissa’s cold call could not have been timed better.”

As Melissa and Mike began working together, they found that their skills complemented one another, and they were able to establish a productive partnership. 

That partnership, and the success it generated, prompted Melissa and Mike to talk about opening their own brokerage. 

“We saw things that could be done differently,” Mike recalled. “We had this desire to differentiate ourselves and fill a regional need for flexible, fun, and ethics-driven real estate services.”

The search for the right franchised brokerage began and stumbled across NextHome. 

“Our first call with NextHome was really good,” Mike said. “When we crunched the numbers on starting our own brokerage from scratch, the cost difference was so significant that going with NextHome didn’t even seem like a question. It was far and away the best business decision.”

However, it wasn’t just the numbers that made NextHome a good fit for Melissa and Mike. 

“It is so nice to have peers to connect with, as well as a corporate leadership team that holds the torch and leads the way in what sometimes feels like a dark tunnel when starting a business,” Melissa said. 

As Mike and Melissa continue to lay the foundation for their brokerage, they hope to build a team that refuses to over-promise and under-deliver. 

“Unfortunately, that’s very common in our industry and it doesn’t do anyone any good,” Mike said. 

Melissa added, “We work with an honest approach. We are bringing agents aboard who are of that mindset and who have experience.”

At NextHome The Boulevard, that honesty and knowledge also come with a healthy dose of fun. 

“We want work to be fun,” Mike said. “We want our clients to enjoy this experience that is commonly very stressful. It’s the most expensive purchase most people make, so we want to make the process as seamless as possible. I want clients and agents to know that I take my business seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously.”

When he isn’t helping clients and agents, Mike enjoys working out, spending time on Lake Cass, and enjoying the great outdoors. Alongside Erica, his wife of 12 years, Mike has two sons, Dylan (11) and Maverick (2). 

Melissa and her husband Chris Ralph are the proud parents of twin eight-year-old boys, Griffin and Everett. Outside of selling real estate, Melissa enjoys traveling with her family and basking in the beautiful ruckus of her neighborhood full of kids. 

Please join us in congratulating Mike, Melissa, and their team on the opening of NextHome The Boulevard in Rochester, Michigan!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.